Where do Yobins fit in the proposed APST Amendment Bill?

It is indeed a pleasure to learn that the Arunachal ST list is being tabled for some amendments during this summer’s parliament session. This move is particularly important because some of the cluster-tribes are being individualized with proper tribe names.
In this context, some wonder where the indigenous Yobin tribe of Arunachal fits.
Therefore, some clarifications and justifications are deemed in order.
There are no complications. Just as there are several tribes clustered under ‘any Naga tribes’ and several other tribes avail ST facilities under the collective noun of ‘Momba’, people of the Yobin tribe avail ST facilities under ‘All tribes…’ of the Constitution (ST) Orders, 1950, Part XVIII. And this is the unshakable ST order of the president of India given since 1950.
There was a time when the Yobin tribe was misunderstood and ST facilities withheld. When this happened, the state’s social justice department, the NCST and the tribal affairs ministry resorted to the presidential ST orders of 1950 and restored the constitutional ST rights to the Yobin tribe.
However, now, when all the other collective tribes under ‘any Naga tribes’ and all those under ‘Momba’ are coming out with their individual tribe names, the Yobin tribe has every reason to be in the individual notified ST list of the state for the following prominent reasons.
1. The registrar general of India (MTA) has specifically stated that Yobin should be added after “Adi, listed at Serial No 16” for “Yobin… tribe is an independent ST and not the section/subgroup/synonym of any of the 16 STs…” [Ref ORGI MHA/ORGI
Letter No 8/1/2014-SS (Arunachal Pradesh), dated 1-8-2014].
2. Again, according to ministry of home affairs, based on the ambit of the presidential ST orders, 1950, “Yobin is also a notified ST in Arunachal Pradesh” (MINHA/E/2017-Ad-I, dated 27 September, 2017). Therefore, it ought to be mentioned in actuality to avoid generalization.
3. Yobin’s inclusion in the ST notified list is already cleared in the parliament by the MoS, tribal affairs, since July 2018, even ahead of others (Ref: Press Information Bureau of India: MTA, dated 23 July, 2021, as notified by MoS tribal affairs to the Lok Sabha on the date stated as above).
4. At the moment, the Yobin tribe is availing ST under ‘All tribes of the territory…” (Constitution ST Orders, 1950, Part XVIII). This is the presidential order that is to be adhered to with utmost care. However, to avoid generalization, since there is a move now for some amendments, also since Yobin is an independent tribe and not a sub-tribe or a synonym, as vouched by RGI of GoI, it would be much better to be enlisted by name in the illustrative notified ST list of the state.
5. Even the prime minister took notice of this international border-dwelling tribe, Yobins as he shared a video of Yobin children by captioning in his social media (Facebook): “An adorable video from a remote area in Changlang…” (dated 28 March, 2021).
6. We believe it is logical advantage that this little tribe that dwells in the remotest corner of the geographical trijunction has a constitutional identity by name.
7. It is also pertinent to mention that the government of Arunachal Pradesh as well as the MPs of Arunachal Pradesh have always advocated ‘Yobin’ to be scheduled in the central notified list of ST of Arunachal Pradesh. Not less than five times, ‘Yobin’ got mentioned in the Lok Sabha so far.
Because of all this rationale, there is every reason that the Yobin tribe should also be included in the notified ST list of the state by name in lieu of ‘All tribes…’.
We pray and we believe that all the representatives and authorities concerned will not be able to bypass this unique tribe but will definitely help to bring justice in this process of forthcoming ST amendments bills.
Avia Ngwazah,
GS, Yobin Tribe Fundamental Rights Forum;
Tifusa Yobin,
VP, Yobin welfare Society;
Stephen Ngwazah,
Cultural Secy, Yobin Welfare Society